History of The Reading Room

IMG_5226I’m so pleased that we are able to show WAS Benson’s original drawings/designs for The Reading Room in Manorbier.

Join us and local historians David Glennerster and Gerald Codd at The Reading Room, Manorbier SA70 7SY Sunday 8 October  2-4pm.

Find out more about this beautiful Arts & Crafts building and see these and more drawings and photographs of the building and locality.

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Every ornament should have its perfume

 

The Reading Room, an ex-village Hall in Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, was built in 1906 by Willian Arthur Smith Benson. Benson was a high-profile lighting designer and a key part of the Arts and Crafts movement, selling his work through (William) Morris & Co in London. Having settled in Manorbier in middle age, he built the Reading Room as a philanthropic gesture to the community.

Kathryn Campbell Dodd’s exhibition reflects on the Arts and Crafts heritage of the building to both celebrate and question the utopian idealism of the movement’s philosophies through a series of new and recent works.

The exhibition title, Every ornament should have its perfume is taken from Owen Jones’ seminal book, The Grammar of Ornament published in 1856 which contributed to reforms in British design and the Arts & Crafts ideals of utility, beauty and fitness for purpose.

Making reference to the textile and wall paper designs of William Morris and the lighting designs of WAS Benson, the new works presented in the beautifully designed and now refurbished Reading Room space are constructed from low grade printed textiles (such as floral duvets covers) and cardboard.

The use of these materials reflects upon the aspirations of the Arts & Crafts movement’s socialist idealism and the belief that political and social change can be wrought through the hand-made or speciatist production of craft, art and design. The desire to challenge capitalism, globalization and the mass production of consumer goods through a return to the handmade, the wholesome and the rustic is a natural and deeply human response – as relevant today as in Morris and Benson’s time. Arguably, the built-in failure of those utopian aspirations however aesthetically and materially seductive is rooted in the problems inherent in taking such goods to market, where disposable income is essential to be able to afford to buy them.

The work on show celebrates and cherishes the desire for change through art and making whilst recognizing and embracing the inadequacy of that position. It acknowledges the intense labour involved in making by hand and, in this instance, the uselessness of the practical product it produces. Low-grade materials and decorator’s paints, beautiful textiles that cannot be used in the home or washed; cardboard from consumer packaging which stands in for the high-quality metals and glass of lighting fixtures.

Morris himself recognized the dilemma and proposed a positive rallying cry for those of us that proceed him “…how men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.”*

• P20, Introduction, William Morris: Selected Writings and Designs, edited by Asa Briggs, pulished by Penguin Books 1962

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Every ornament should have its perfume

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The Reading Room, an ex-village hall in Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, was built in 1906 by Willian Arthur Smith Benson. Benson was a high-profile lighting designer and a key part of the Arts and Crafts movement, selling his work through (William) Morris & Co in London. Having settled in Manorbier in middle age, he built the Reading Room as a philanthropic gesture to the community.

Kathryn Campbell Dodd’s forthcoming exhibition reflects on the Arts and Crafts heritage of the building to both celebrate and question the utopian idealism of the movement’s philosophies through a series of new and recent works.

The exhibition title, Every ornament should have its perfume is taken from Owen Jones’ seminal book, The Grammar of Ornament published in 1856 which contributed to reforms in British design and the Arts & Crafts ideals of utility, beauty and fitness for purpose.

The exhibition opens on Thursday 5 October at 7pm, everyone is welcome.

The artist will be at the Reading Room from 11am – 4pm each day. A comfortable reading area will be available to visitors. You are invited to browse books from the artist’s collection (or bring your own); meet and chat about the themes of the show and the history of the building over a cup of tea.

To celebrate this exciting new arts venue for west Wales, artists and craftspeople from Pembrokeshire and west Wales are invited to meet together at the Reading Room during the show to talk about the issues and challenges of living and working in the region – in particular on Saturday 7 October 2 – 4pm.

Local historians David Glennerster and Gerald Codd will be at the Reading Room on Sunday 8 October 2-4pm to share their knowledge of the history of the building, come along to see old photographs and have a chat over a cup of tea and cake – a warm welcome to all.

Oriel Blodau Bach

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3 October // Hydref – 18 November // Tachwedd 2016

For my second exhibition at Oriel Blodau Bach,  I am making an ongoing artwork that will change and develop over a six week period.

I have selected items from Carmarthenshire County Museum’s collection that were originally sourced from the Pencader area of Carmarthenshire.

Using museum documentation, images and found material I will be presenting responses to the objects and the museum records and processes.

‘Spoon’ at Unit Twelve Gallery, Stafford

img_1002_edited-129 September – 17 December 2016

You are invited to the ‘Spoon’ Exhibition’ Private View on Sat 1st October, 2-4pm.

This Christmas selling exhibition will showcase a varied array of beautiful artist made spoons made from a large variety of materials such as wood, ceramic, glass, wire, silver, metal, enamel and even found objects and mixed media.

With spoons by Justine Allison, Kathryn Campbell Dodd, Sharon Adams, Hamish Dobbie, Priscilla Jones, Sue Pryke, Laura Baxter, Emma Wells, Emily Stapleton Jefferis, Sue Brown, Liz Willis, Elaine Bolt, The Silver Duck, Ann Povey (Pictured), Helena Emmans, Hugh Leishman, Ann Nazareth, Katie Almond, Julia Cowie, Louise Wilson, Louise Loder, Emma Louise Wilson, Sarah Malone and Rosie Brewer.

unit twelve, Tixall Heath Farm, ST18 0XX Stafford